Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eye of the Tiger

This past weekend was Shawnee Rescue Rad Cross. The mens 4 was at 10am and the mens 3/4 was at 2pm. With so much time between the two I decided to race both. I picked up my new Jamis Nova race on Friday and unfortunately did not have time to ride it before hand. I was a little nervous about this because when racing you have to make many split second decisions at any given time throughout the race. Any mistake or miscalculation and it can cost you your position, your energy, and even your bones if you wreck. I got out there a little early and pre-rode the course and noticed that there was a lot of pavement. So I pumped my tires up to 45 psi each. At no point in the race did my tires feel loose at all. There wasn't much off camber and my tires were hooking up great in the grass. We had a pretty big group, 35 in all. I didn't expect much from myself since there was two sand pits back to back with maybe 35-40 feet of grass between. Almost enough to ride and just a little too long to run. I decided to run it all but when on grass I would roll the bike instead of shouldering it. This proved to be my most hated section of the race because right after that there was no time to recover, you went right in to a gradual climb. No rest for the weary. I managed to finish 18th. The guy in front of me had a pretty good lead for the last two laps and when coming to the finish line I noticed that he let up his pace, he let up his pace a lot. I was a good 200-250ft behind him and I decided to sprint for it. I know that sprinting for 18th is not glorious but I made the decision to go for it. I beat him to the line and did the dorkiest hand in the air gesture like I had just won the whole thing. I immediately felt stupid for doing the gesture but I was happy that I sprinted. More about that feeling in a minute. After the race I ate, drank, and rested. I even had time to go pick up Kate and Lucy. They dropped me back off and they went on to the mall like I suspect they will be doing for many times to come. I have never done a 3/4 race and didn't expect much from myself for a couple of reasons, 1) I raced earlier in the day and 2) I would be racing against 3s. The race time went from 30 minutes in the 4s to 45 minutes in the 3/4s. At one point in the race I almost pulled myself, I was so tired I was basically just walking it. My energy level dropped after lap number 3 of 8. My last two laps I was using as a cool down I was going so slow. I am glad I did it as it helped to push me out of my comfort zone. The course judges placed me at 25 out of 27 but it was an error on their part. I actually finished 24 out of 27. My fellow team-mate S.C. won the race. He managed to lap me once and I was happy he did. It cut my laps down from 8 to 7 total. He looked great out there, really strong and comfortable. That was his day and he took it. Good for him, he has been working hard for that for a long time.

With all that being said, on my Monday night ride I had a word pop into my head, that word is "heart". I have not been able to shake that word since I first thought it. I have been thinking about what it means to me, do I have it, if not how do I get it? I remember watching Rocky 2 and Rocky is challenged by Clubber Lang, and Clubber Lang says Rocky isn't a real champion. Apollo Creed is training Rocky and tells him that he needs to get the "Eye of the Tiger". You know that desire to win, that hunger and need to beat any opponent. I know that I haven't been racing with that emotion. My motivation has been to do better than I have ever done before. Tri-atheletes call this a "p.r." or a "personal record". I wonder if I will ever get that real desire to win or if I will just keep going along trying to beat my P.R.?  Do I even need that desire to win at all cost? Will it make my training more effecient? Lots of questions in my head right now. I do know that I love cycling and I love all the things I have accomplished including all the psychological things I have over come. One being the fear of competing in front of people knowing that I may be judged. It is funny all the things that we can carry in life not knowing, things that may seem insignificant to others but to some it means avoiding certain situations in life. I only wish I had conquered that one earlier in life. Cycling has given me the medium to over come many of my lifes obstacles. For that I love it even more.

These pics are from Jon Peck and they are my faves so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Can Almost Taste It

The last two weeks of cross racing have been pretty good to me. I have managed to finish in my two best finishes ever, but that has only managed to frustrate me even more. I raced in Cross out Cancer two weekends ago and had my best placing to date, 17 out of 40, that is my first top 50% finish in any race including road. I raced the mens cat4 on my sinlge speed bike and the gearing was perfect for the course. No climbing at all and not many straight sections. My handling and my starting in the front really helped me out. I did this race last year and placed 31 out of 46. At this rate ,next year I should be a real contender.  The frustration comes from my wanting to do better. I now want a top 25% finish.

This last weekend was Joules Cross. I was really pumped from Cross out from Cancer and expected good things from myself. I was once again racing on my single speed bike and the course didn't look too hilly. I didn't have a chance to pre-ride the course and wished I had. Lots of straight aways, a spiral of death, strong head winds, off camber loose dirt and rocky sections, and a couple of little climbs thrown in just before the finish line. My gearing was good for the climbs on this course but a not large enough for all the straight sections. I had a good start, coming out of the first turns I was siting in 8th place out of 32 but it was not to be. I was slowly but surely losing my ground to everyone with gears. I faded to 17th place over all. My teammate Levon was racing with me and once again was gaining on me rather quickly. We were suppose to do 6 laps total but we were pulled after 5, If I had known that we were going to get pulled I would have sprinted to the finish hopefully passing the 16th place guy. At the rate Levon was gaining on me, I know he would have passed me on the last lap had it gone to 6, but please don't tell him that I was worried about it, I don't want him to gain any confidence for next week.

For spectating I liked the Cross out Cancer course. Kate, the baby, and I found a nice tree to sit under and watched everyone else race. Joules cross' course was on beatiful land but not many trees to sit under and spectate unless you brought your own tent. Other than that It was a nice venue.

With all that being said, BK has ordered a Jamis Nova race with my name on it. Let's see how I do with my own bike with gears. Several of the guys on the team have this bike and they do pretty well. I will be sure to post pics.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Like a Boss

Boss Cross 1 & 2 were this past weekend. I was only able to race on Saturday but managed to pass by on Sunday to spectate for a little bit. Saturday's race was tough, lots and lots of running. I had a great start to the race, I think about 7th or 8th until we reached the first set of sand. Running is not my thing, it brings my heartrate way up especially when running thru deep, soft sand. I managed to hold about 11th or 12th place until there was 2 laps to go and I started to fade. The race was 40 minutes long versus the usual 30 minutes. I know I would have placed better by 2 or 3 places had it been 30 minutes. My friend and fellow teammate Levon was in the race with me and he was starting to gain ground on me on the last lap of the race. I really started to worry that he was going to pass me, the amount of  time he made up on that last lap made me feel like I didn't have a chance against him. It did force me to push myself even harder near the end and I did manage to hold my place. Levon and I have used each other to gauge how well we are doing in a race. Last year I was only able to beat him in one race. Ironically enough this coming weekend is that race. I hope he is there for a rematch.  My legs felt pretty good and I was able to run a higher gear and get up off my saddle from time to time. I do need to work on my heartrate, it really sucks. I get winded much quicker than my legs give out. 

 I think I am being converted, I have become a cross person. It is a lot more fun than road racing. I am going to have to figure out how I can get my hands on a carbon cross bike with carbon tubulars.

One last thing, my buddy/fellow teammate Jon Peck was good to me on Saturday and Allowed me to once again race with his bike. Carrying that thing thru sand was much easier than my steel bike. He also took an awesome photo so credit goes out to him on that too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Manion's Cross

There is no better way to have fun on a bike than cyclocross. I heard somewhere that this sport was invented by pro roadies in Belgium a long time ago to help them stay in shape in the off season, but here in K.C. you will hear people say that they do road racing in the spring and summer to stay in shape for cross in fall and winter. This sport is huge here in Kansas City among many other places  in the U.S.. Lots of people say the colder and muddier the better. It also helps that there is usually free beer at most races. This will be my second full season of cross and although I am not all that charged about training I am excited about racing. There are races in this area pretty much every weekend until after the first of the year and the first ones were this past weekend. Manion's Cross is a race put on by my bicycle shop sponsor Volker bicycles of Kansas city. Two days of racing out on the hills of Manion's auction house. Cross is spectator friendly as the courses are usually between 1.5 miles and 2.5 miles long wrapping around the inside of a park, so if you sit in one spot of the course to watch you will have the racers pass by you multiple times in one race. So as you can imagine, it is more of a family atmosphere. This past weeked the wife and baby came out with me on Saturday and sat on a blanket to enjoy the fun and cheer dad on in his poor result do to my rear tire having a leak. I had to stop every lap in the wheel pit and pump up my tire. I knew I wasn't going to do well but I also didn't want to DNF(did not finish). Much to my surprise, I managed to finish 31st out of 34. I thought I was dead last. Sunday was a much better showing for me. I borrowed a teamates awesome "geared" bike with carbon tubulars. In my race I finished 17th out of  30. Middle of the pack is not bad at all for me considering it was a climbing mans course.   

Friday, September 2, 2011

Everybody Limbo

This weekend is Gateway Cup. 4 days of crit racing in St.Louis. I went to watch one race last year and loved the energy the town had for racing. Before this I didn't have a very positive opinion of St.Louis, but we had a great day off watching friends race and having lunch in the Italian district of town.  In the beginning of the season I had put Gateway Cup on my radar but to be honest I lost any interest in doing it weeks ago. It has been a long and hot summer and this past week I did something that I hadn't done in over a year. I took a week off of cycling. I have not been on a bike in 6 days. My right knee has been a little achey and I have not had much desire to ride either. This is the time of year where we are winding down road racing and starting to prepare for cyclo cross. Right now I am not excited about that either. I really don't like winter and I am not looking forward to the below 50 degree weather. Last winter seemed to last for ever. I did try to excite myself for winter by buying a compression long sleeve thermal base layer. I guess I will have to wait until the first cross race to really jump start my excitement. I am making plans to do the Tour de BBQ this year. This is the 3rd year of this ride and from what I hear it is only getting bigger and better. Last year they had Smash Mouth performing at the rap up party. I will be doing the 62 mile route and for those of you who don't know about the ride, the route is designed to go to all the BBQ joints that wished to participate. The first year had 7 stops with food being served at each and every location. All the big names are on the route like Gates, Arthur Bryants, Oklahoma Joe's, Jack Stacks............ this should be a lot of fun and well worth the trip if you are interested. Here is a link for more info. http://tourdebbq.com/

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For A Good Cause

I have a friend and fellow teammate who is riding the MS150 this year. He has chosen to ride on Kate's(my wife) behalf. follow the link to his blogspot and read Kate's story and if you can give, please feel free to do so.


Monday, August 1, 2011

How Far?

Sunday July 31,2011 was Volker bicycle's 100 mile Grand "Fundo" ride. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to be at the shop by 5:45am. I decided to ride my bike from home to the shop. I had packed the night before and managed to fit everything I would need into the three pockets of my kit and my saddle bag. light had just started to sneek out into sky when we all set out for Lawrence at 6am which was our out and back point. I have had my bike for over a year now and I have had the same bottle cages for that same amount of time but for some reason this is the day that the front one decides to pop off with bottle in it and all and go rolling down the road just about 2 miles into the ride. I stop and pick it up because I knew I would need 3 bottles of water and not just 2,this would turn out to be a very wise choice. I was able to get the cage to pop back on without having to unscrew or screw in anything. I work like mad to catch back up to everyone. We are going at a pretty good clip and we get maybe another 10 miles down the road when we go over a set of railroad tracks and you guessed it, the cage comes off again. I once again grab cage and bottle and snap back on and I look up and can't seem to see anyone down the road. I didn't really know the route to get out to Lawrence but figured I would wing it. So I continue alone heading west. I reach Bonner Springs within the hour and I just happened to look to my right and I see a group of cyclist that were with the ride just starting back up from taking a bathroom break. I speed up and latch on for the remainder of the ride. There were 7 of us total and we all worked well taking turns pulling. Up until now the ride was super flat but now begins the "rollers". They weren't too bad but I would certainly feel them on our way back.When we were about 10 miles from town some guy in a SUV came to a rolling stop at a stop sign and because of the sun he claims he couldn't see us so he started to speed thru the intersection, he suddenly sees us and slams on his breaks causing a rider to stop short and the guy behind to go down. Luckily no one was hurt.We arrived in Lawrence just after 8am and we rode thru town and stopped at a gas station to refill our bottles, stretch, and eat. At this point I had 48+/- miles on my computer. I felt great and I was ready for the 48 or so miles back.  The sun was up higher in the sky but the temps were still tolerable. They were calling for 97degrees plus the heat index for the day. 8:30 am and we start our way back home, about 35 to 40 minutes into the ride one of the riders has a blow out so we stop to repair in the shade. She gets the new tube in and we all roll out again when no more than 5 miutes later she has another blow out. This time she takes her time to really inspect her tire and realizes that her side wall has a slice in it. Aubree suggests to use a clif shot wrapper to patch the hole. She said to put the wrapper between the tube and the tire on the inside of the tire, they do so and put everything together. That darn thing held the whole way home with out any other problems. At mile 83 we stopped under a bridge to check on someones tire and while we sat there I began to feel pourly. We were all low on water so we found the nearest gas station and filled back up. I took some sport beans and a packet of "Emergen-C". I was amazed at how well I felt after that. We made it to the shop at 12:00pm. The sun was blaring although it would get hotter into the day. Pot-Pies restaurant and Volker bicycles had pasta and vegetables, fruit salad, and Cokes waiting for us. Most of the other riders took a longer route and they did closer to 115 miles for the day because of a couple closed roads/bridge. After eating a little and sitting in front of the fan to cool off I decided to ride home. By the time I got home my computer said 97 miles. This was by far the longest ride I have done to date, I have done numerous 65 mile rides but never this many. I am glad I did it and now look back at the first time I tried doing 18 miles and how far I have come from bonking at 18 miles versus bonking at 83 miles. I am still a little impatient with my progress but when I look back and think how I smoked for 18 years and was 30 pounds heavier just 1 and a half years ago, you know I am not doing too bad.

Thank you Britton for putting this ride on and thank you John from Pot-Pies for cooking the food. Who ever supplied the Coke, I thank you the most!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's too hot

It has been triple digits hot here for over a week now and not much cooler than that for a couple of weeks before that. The heat is really starting to wear me down. I managed to get a ride in last night. It was about 120 degrees with the heat index. My car read 103 at 6pm and 98 degrees at 8:15pm. The last time I got on the bike was 6 days before that. That is not a very good thing, but my mind and body was not into it like it usually is. I decided to listen and stay off. I took the opportunity to take the bike in for complete tune up and I also cleaned her up. I hadn't realized just how dirty she had gotten. It is amazing how happy it makes me to clean the bike up, it almost feels like I just got a new one.

I haven't been writing or riding much lately because I have become a little discouraged. I wasn't very happy with my turn-out in Topeka. I really thought I was going to do much better than I did. So I have decided to take it a little easier until I get all gung-ho again. I have also been spending a lot of time with Lucy. She is almost 3 months now and all smiles.

Cross season is only a couple of months away. With that means cooler temps. I can't wait to see how well I do this year in cross.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What A Waste

This past weekend was the 4th of July weekend and we had my brother and his girlfriend visiting from Florida. This was a great opportunity for me to show my brother what cycling is all about and why I am so enthralled by it. They were flying home on Sunday the 3rd so that meant that I had to race on Saturday instead. This weekends venue was the Tour of Lawrence. I love this venue simply for the amount of spectators that come out and watch the races. It is two days of racing, Saturday is a campus circuit and Sunday is a downtown crit. Last year I did the crit and managed to finish last. The funny thing is that my results were never posted to my rider profile on USAcycling, not sure if this a good thing or a bad thing. The campus circuit is the toughest race I have ever done, it has several climbs with one long one at the end of the course about 300 feet before the finish.  I know that the pros did a total of 9,000 feet of climbing in their race. If you read my blog you know that I am not made for climbing, but since I have been doing my hill intervals I know that I did better than I thought I would. My race started at 10:00am so I knew it was going to be an early start to the day since it wasn't going to be just me driving out. We managed to get there and set up with only about 15 minutes to spare after I checked in and pinned my numbers on. This is not good. I had no time to warm up at all. A friend of mine on another team who had just finished his race offered to show me the course and all the "bad spots" in the pavement. We thought we had enough time to ride the course, well this turned out to be a huge error in judgement as I missed my start time by at least 45 seconds or so. I managed to make up 12 positions out of 47. If I think about it, this is pretty good for me considering that I never had the protection of the peloton and all the climbing that was invloved. I am just dissapointed with myself for missing my start time. No telling how well I would have done if I had just been in the front of the start line. I only have 2 more races in my road schedule this season and then it is cross training for me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I have not done an official race since before the baby was born. I decided to take the time and train more and to be sure to be home if needed. I had set my sights on this past weekend of racing since it was as local as it was ever going to get. The 48th annual Tour of K.C. was this past weekend and there was racing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was only able to make Sunday's race since I spent Friday and Saturday camping with my nephew for Cub-scouts. Sunday was a hot day and by the time it was my turn to race it was even hotter. Most of our team was there, we must of had at least 20 riders in the Colavita corner. I think as a whole everyone did pretty well. Our one womens rider won both of her races. We had a mens cat2 finish 2nd on Sunday and I mens cat4 finish 4th on Sunday as well. I on the other hand didn't do as well as I thought,  but it was because I wasn't racing smart either. At the start of the race, I was sitting in the front 3 riders and not pushing myself too hard, really just sitting comfortably. After 3 laps of sitting there I decided to pass everyone on the climb and pull the group, but instead of setting a comfortable pace for myself I was trying to go a little faster. Not really sure why I did this other than I had my whole team watching and I have been improving a lot lately so I didn't want to dissapoint, if that makes sense. Then I start to fade fast and the heat started to affect me and my energy level dropped really quick. Not sure if I remember much after that other than I kept yo-yo-ing with three riders fighting for 19th place. I finished 20th because I thought there was one more lap so I didn't try to pass just before the finish and to be quite honest, it seemed pointless to fight for 19th place. So if I sit back and reflect on what happened I would basically say I blew my wad too soon. I should have just sat back and let everyone else do all the work and wait for the perfect time to go off the front like with one lap left. Oh well, you live and you learn. I am such a rookie. Any ways, This weekend is Tour of Lawrence and I am racing Saturday morning. This race is a circuit race with a tough climb right before the finish. Let's see how I fair with that.

Here is a link to a video of the mens cat4 race on Sunday. The course is dubbed "Citizens on Patrol"  http://exposureroom.com/members/chuongdoan/648637d47ea84f0ab1c94df86a32c3c6/

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are YOU positive

I've had to change my cycling schedule up a little, I now ride early in the mornings on both Mondays and Tuesdays. I get up at 5am on both days. Monday I have been doing Cliff Drive's gooseneck. This past Monday I talked myself into doing it 10 times. My first race ever was on Cliff drive and I had to do the gooseneck 4 times. I didn't think I was going to be able to do it and that was with being able to recover on the remainder of the course. 10 hill repeats one after the other, only being able to rest on the way down was a good gauge for me to see my improvement from last year. Tuesdays I do a short out and back from my house in the morning, about 7 miles. Most of the way back is all incline and I try to keep my intensity high. My weekly training schedule is as follows, Monday and Tuesday mornings, Wednesday and Thrusday evenings, and Saturday mornings. That is about 9 hours of training a week. That is going to have to do for now.

I have been feeling stronger on the bike since my last post. The positive talking and phsyching myself up has really helped. I have even been known to talk out loud. Some of you left some great comments on your own experiences with this subject and I took them to heart. Last Saturday I rode 60 miles with the a few teammates and felt great for most of it. I even surprised myself at how well I was riding among guys who are a higher "Cat" than me. It can be a lot of fun when you see improvements and even better when your teammates notice too. It has really helped to light a fire in my motivation as well.

Most of you know that I do both road and CX seasons but I am not much of a mountain biker or a gravel grinder. This year I have decided to do Joe Fox's Farm House Classic. Satruday July 16th, 2011. I am being told that this years route is 90+ miles. I have a single speed cross bike and have some reservations on this. Not because of the 90 miles but because of 90 miles riding single speed and it being on gravel. 7 other team members will be joining and it should be a blast. I will be sure to take plenty of pictures and post them as soon as possible.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Whatever you tell me to do drill sergeant!

This is something I have been thinking of writing for a while. I was spectating at one of the Perry Dam races. A few of us were sitting on a guard rail watching the women race. At one point in the race there was a small group of riders maybe 3 or 4 of them pedaling up the long inlcine, I took real notice of the second to last rider in the group because she was crying, that's right she was crying with her mouth wide open and everything. I can only assume she was crying from the pain she was going through on the climb and maybe to stay with the pack. That image has stayed with me and I frequently replay it in my mind. I admire that person. She wasn't about to surrender to the pain just yet. I am also jealous of her, I surrender to my pain way too easily. My pain has control over what I do, it constantly puts limitations to what I can and will do. Don't get me wrong, I have improved from the time I first got on a road bike, I am much faster now than ever before but I feel like I could be faster and I could improve quicker if only I would be willing to quiet the little voices in my head that tell me to "slow down", and "why do you even bother", and "is all this pain really worth it". Without pushing myself too far from my "Comfort Zone" I will improve slowly. Last night at Thursday Night Worlds, There came a point where I was trying to jump back into the group, I was really srtuggling to latch back on when I heard a fellow teammate Joe say something like " dig deep James, push yourself". That gave me the extra little push I needed and I was able to hang-on for a few laps. I only wish I always had someone right there coaxing me a long. Kind of like a drill sergeant breaking me down only to build me back up stronger and faster. That is one of the main reasons why I ride with guys who are all faster than me. This forces me to push myself. I am very lucky to have joined a team that does nothing but encourage its teammates, no one has a bad thing to say and I genuinely like everyone. I am going to try and start working on that little inner voice from now on and see if I can't get it to become an optomist.

If you see me out there and I am struggling, don't hesitate to yell some words of encouragement.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I had to share

I just had to share a photo of my little darling. This was taken at nap time yesterday. Yes, that is what I am talking about.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gravel? What Gravel?

The weekend started on Thursday at 5pm. The first thing I did that evening was drive over to the police training course and did some crit racing. I felt stronger this week than last time and could hang on a little while longer with the faster guys. Not sure if everyone was going slower or if I truly was going faster. Ty is a regular fixture at these events and he is a good training partner. I would love to be at his level some day in the future. I have to admit that I do have some days where I get some what discouraged, but never enough to keep me away from riding. Obviously when you ride with guys who are stornger and faster than you, you will only improve. The frustrating part is that while you improve so do they. Needless to say, I feel like I am always chasing that carrot dangling in front of me on a stick, almost with in reach but never close enough to grab. I also notice that because of this effect I find it difficult to gauge my progress.

Friday my little family and I drove to Lawrence to pick up my nephew to have him over for the weekend. I was really excited about the plans I had for him and I to ride part of the Katy trail. He and I went to my sponsor bike shop Volker and we picked up some necessary supplies for a trip of this nature. Spare tubes, comfortable saddle for his bike and bottle cages for my CX bike. The plans were to drive out to Rocheport's trail head, park there and ride as far east as the kiddo could handle. Keep in mind he is only 9 going on 10, and riding a bmx style bike. For those of you who do not know what the Katy trail is, here is a little background. This was at one point a railroad line called the MKT line. MKT stands for Missouri Kansas Texas. In 1986 the line was discontinued and the state of Missouri decided to at some point after that turn it into a glorious 225 mile gravel trail that stretches from St. Charles, Mo. to Clinton, Mo. There are many trail heads a long the way with many businesses serving the trial travellers. This weekend was Memorial day weekend and Rocheport was hopping with business. Live music, outside patio eating, and so many cyclist that you couldn't help but get excited about riding your bike. All kinds of bikes can be seen on the trail from road bikes to recumbent, with all kinds of trailer attachments. The trailers were filled with anything from children, dogs, coolers, camping equipment, radios, I mean you name it and it was there to be seen. The "gravel" trail, and I use that term loosely was almost as smooth as paved road. I live in Missouri and I have seen bumpier paved roads. I saw no potholes in the 6 mile stretch that we road and it had rain the day before and saw no puddles either. I will ride the entire trail one day. All 225 miles and I will do it over a long weekend(3 days) and camping in a tent along the way. If you are interested in joining me on this adventure please let me know. The more the merrier. Not sure about other states but this is a great asset we have here in Missouri and we should take advantage of it fully.

Monday morning I rode out to the bike shop and met up with a few teammates for a 2 hour ride. when it was all said and done I had put in about 40 miles. I had been feeling guilty about not doing my usual Saturday morning ride but after the way Lucy kept Kate and I up all night Friday, I was in no condition to even try to keep up with the guys. It is hard enough with a full nights sleep.  have to say that I do understand now why Britton is not always chipper in the mornings.

My Niece and Nephew enjoying the fireworks
Monday night we wrapped the weekend up with a trip out to Community America park to watch the T-Bones play baseball. I don't watch sports on t.v. much, but i will go to a baseball game any day. Great fun, great food, great company, and fireworks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuesday Has Nothing on Thursday

Thursday night I drove up to the Pleasant Valley police academy, no I am not changing careers. A fellow cyclist from team "In-A-Tub" is a police officer and was given permission to open up the training course for our use. That's right, we get to race on a closed course where they train the officers to powerslide and other cool stuff. The course is like regular city streets being two lanes wide, many turns, and an actual blinking red traffic signal. If all that wasn't enough to make this the best venue, it is also free. Imagine nice pavement, no traffic to worry about, and no cost to you. We had a good turn out, around 20 riders of all skill levels. We also all start the race off together and try to hang on for as long as you can until eventually you find yourself in a smaller group racing against 2 or 3 other people. We did 3 different races on three different routes for a total of close to 2 hours of racing. The races are open to whomever would like to come and join so please plan to attend and invite a friend or two, but make sure that the people you invite are cool because I would hate to see this go away. Start time is 6:15pm. It is a perfect training tool and gauge on how well you are doing, as I found out. If you do decide to show up, make sure you go to the bathroom before you leave home, nowhere out there for you to go. Once you arrive go around the back of the facility to the left of the building, you will see a parking lot on the side. Park there. The address is  6885 NE Pleasant Valley Road Kansas City, MO 64119. This link shows the front view of the buildinghttp://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=pleasant+valley+police+academy&ie=UTF8&ll=39.212039,-94.404144&spn=0,0.88028&t=h&z=10&layer=c&cbll=39.216589,-94.49975&panoid=PHIuvB9teflOJXBLXrRwbQ&cbp=12,141.79,,0,16.85

Saturday morning most of the guys were in St.louis racing Tour de Grove. A few of us showed for our weekly ride, I think 6. I suggested we try and get 50 miles in and everyone else was willing. We headed north over the Heart of America bridge. Up to Parvin road and west through Briarcliff on to 9 into Parkville and continued west on NW River rd for several miles past Waldron and that is where my sense of direction goes a little screwy. I know when it was all said and done I got about 48 miles in. Lots of rollers out there. Up and down, up and down.Things seen on the side of the road were anything from a dead snake to some highschool cheerleaders begging me to get my bicycle washed. Cool and Windy day but over all lots of fun. I need to put in more milage like that. My legs felt it for the rest of the day.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Where Did It Go!

Logged on this afternoon and learned that my last post with Lucy's picture is gone. I did not erase it and the link is still showing up on my Facebook page but when I click on it, it says the post does not exist. I look on my stats and it is not showing up there either. I am very dissappointed with Blogger right now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goo-Goo Ga-Ga

Easter Sunday my wife and I were in bed when her water broke. My first thought was "I am going to have an Easter baby". By 9:30am we were at the hospital filling out paperwork. No contractions as of yet. The following 30 hours are a bit of a blur. I do know that neither of us had any sleep, and that after waiting for over 28 hours for her to fully dilate and 2 hours of pushing, she had a C-section. My wife is a superhero. I have complete respect for her. She endured an amount of pain that I know I can never imagine. Our baby was born April 25th 2011 at 1:01pm and weighed a whopping 9lbs 9 3/4 oz.. Needless to say I have been a bit busy and have not had the opportunity to update my blog. I have had the chance to sneak away and get some riding in but my mind has always been on my wife and baby. I am in love.......

The above picture is of baby Lucy cracking a smile and I think it also sums up my last couple of weeks well.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sharing is Caring

I was on my bike last night doing my normal Monday night McCoy's ride, having a good time when from a car going the opposite direction came some angry words. I couldn't quite make out the complete sentence,  but I did hear "GET OFF........". I am going to assume  that he was saying something to the effect of us riding on the street. This is nothing new, this happens to every cyclist at least once in their life. My first thought is, "you @ss-hole, don't you know I have the right to ride on the street" and "the sideWALK is for WALKING". In this day and age of everything going green and gas prices hovering around $4.00 a gallon you would think there would be less people who react like this, but there is and they simply don't know that the road is to be shared, and they feel compelled to clue us in on traffic laws of which they have concocted in their ideal driving Utopia. These are the people who you need to watch out for when riding your bike. They are the ones who will go out of their way to make sure you understand that riding your bicycle on the street is not acceptable. The ones that see red and react before thinking things through. Of course as a cyclist we have a responsibility to behave and follow the traffic laws like everyone else. We must also share the road with motorists. I have seen plenty of cyclists setting a bad example. Pushing their way into traffic or riding two abreast with too wide a birth. Sharing the road is only becoming more and more common these days and whether you are a motorist or a cyclist, do everyone a favor and read up on the rules of the road.

Here is a link to some road rules for cyclists http://www.be-safe.org/css_com/bicycle/rules.html

Friday, April 8, 2011

Keep It Moving

Last weekend was spent moving. I took Friday off from work and my sister-in-law was in town to help. Kate is less than four weeks away from having the baby and her carrying things is not a good idea. We have moved to a part of town called "the historic northeast". The homes around here are older Victorian era homes. The surrounding areas are not the most desirable to live but this small pocket of a neighborhood is really awesome. We are renting a carriage house behind a large home. The main house was built in the 1890s and the carriage house was built in 1908. It is a really neat space and the best part is we have use of the fenced in yard for Sadie our dog. Sadie loves running off leash. We aren't completely finished with moving, we still have some stuff left in the old apartment but we have a couple of more weeks to get it all moved. I have to say that I woke up every day this weekend expecting to be sore from lifting and carrying things and it never came to be. I think cycling has saved my life. The new place is one block from cliff drive and I know that will become my new training ground. It has long flats and snake turn climbs. Plus I have moved further away from my routine training rides so I will be getting more miles in from the extra commute.

My training this last week has been less than desired but the time that I was able to dedicate to it was well used. Tuesday night Mark and I met another team mate Venasa in her neck of the woods(the west side) and we rode up every incline we could find. She has a routine that she does and wanted to share it with us and boy it was a doozie. It was one of those workouts where you feel like you have accomplished something.
This is Mark celebrating after finishing the workout
The view from up here is well worth the ride up.
Thursday night was fun too. I remember doing this ride for the first time August 2009. I had done a 12 mile ride the Monday before it and thought, "12 miles felt easy, heck I can do more". It was 98 degrees that evening and I was riding with the slower group(I didn't think they were all that slow). I was not only dropped hard but managed to get lost. My ride that night had a few extra lonely miles added on. I was telling Mark that story last night and he said that he was surprised that I decided to do the ride again. I told him that I had spent $800.00 on a new bike and was afraid of what my wife would say if I let the bike sit and collect dust. If she only knew how much my bike now costs. It is fun to see how much improvement I have made even in the last few months. It pays to continue to ride your bike in the winter. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am really starting to enjoy this early morning training thing. You would be amazed how much you can get done before the sun comes up. Waking up at 5:15am to go and hurt yourself intentionally sounds a little masochistic yet I do it and I am happy afterwards. Wednesdays are my climbing days. We spend about 40-50 minutes riding up long and steady climbs. Going up,and then back down, going up, and then back down. I do have to admit that when I wake up, I spend a few seconds wondering what the hell I am doing up so early, and when my legs are burning I also ask myself why am I causing myself such pain? What is all this for? I am not a very competitive guy at all, although I am constantly reaching for that brass ring. Is it so I can prove it to myself? Is it the satisfaction of accomplishing something that I never imagined completing before? Is it as simple as the endorphins? I know that in the past I have never really stuck to anything I have done, I have always lost interest in any hobbie or "like". So why is cycling so different? And why did I decide to race even though I am not a competitive person? See that is part of the allure and magic of cycling, you will never quite figure it out and it will always tease you just enough to keep you intrigued. It is like a dance with your feelings and emotions, like chasing a hat blown away in the wind that is almost in your reach when the wind blows again. A grand champion once said of cycling that "it never gets easier, you just get faster". That is the truth in so many levels. The pain is always the same. I think the best answer is that the sooner you surrender to the pain the better it all seems. Stop fighting it, or asking questions and just accept the love and passion for what ever your love and passion is. Learn to love the pain and the inconvenience. At least that is what I will do.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Only to see you better with my dear

Some of you may have noticed the designer eye wear I have been wearing to race in, That is because they were the only sunglasses I had in the car at the time. You see I have to wear prescription glasses and I don't have the luxury of contact lenses. My astigmatism is a little higher and contacts would not offer me the same clear vision that eyeglasses do. This has been a problem for me since I was 15 years old and especially tough when it comes to sports, but I think I have found the closest thing to a solution as possible. In the past if I knew that I was going to be riding beyond sun down then I would wear me clear eyeglasses suffering through the sun and waiting for it to set and then I would be comfortable, but now through the magic of technology for the past few years they have been making aTransition lens that is also polarized. What is Transition and what is polarized you ask? Well, Transition is a lens that reacts to the suns u.v. rays and gets darker in higher u.v. and clear in low to no u.v., and polarized is a lens that helps to reduce surface glare at a 180 degree angle, like glare on pavement, windshields, water........ pretty much any glare that would bother you will the sun is out. So you know what this means, I can wear these from the minute I wake up to the minute I lay my head down to sleep. I do have to tell you that these lenses are called Drive wear and they don't go all the way clear, they have a slight yellowish tint to them when they are as clear as possible. See, these lenses were designed with driving in mind. Anyways, I did take it a step further and had these lenses in my prescription made and edged into an Oakley cycling specific frame. I am so excited that I can finally be comfortable all the time while riding my bike. So I am posting this for you fellow riders that suffer from the same. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Also understand that these lenses are not inexpensive, but like a set of carbon wheels, they have a very important purpose, they help us see better there for improve our reaction time and that is always important when all we have for protection is a helmet.

Oakley Jawbone-designed for cycling, it helps to reduce wind in the eyes so you don't tear up and can't see at higher speeds.

This morning also marked the beginning of a new routine for myself and my workout buddy Mark, we decided to try our hand at logging miles in the morning instead of at night. I was at his front door and ready to go at 5:45am and to my surprise he was ready to go as well. We rode for about 50 minutes and got a nice long climb in. The climb was 10 minutes of the ride. We plan on making this our regular Wednesday morning thing. I have to tell you, it is an awesome way to start the day, better than coffee.

Monday, March 21, 2011


This weekend started off with yoga Saturday morning at Volker Velowerx in the Crossroads district of Kansas City. If you have never done Yoga and would like to feel free to join us Saturday mornings  beginning at 8a.m., $5.00 donations for the instructor would be greatly appreciated. The stretches and poses are geared towards cyclist and the areas where we tend to hold a lot of tension, or where we need to strengthen for cycling. We spent an hour doing this and I felt so relaxed when we finished.

After Yoga we all got on our bikes and went out for a 1 hour ride. I got stuck at a light and was dropped so I decided to take a nice relaxing stroll instead of trying to catch back up to everyone. It was a beautiful morning.
The rest of the day was spent packing boxes as Kate and I are moving in two weeks and she being pregnant is afraid that she will be of no use then.


If you are wondering about the title if this post, it is not my locker combination but my results for the series. I know it looks like I managed to improve from 44th to 28th by the end of the series but the truth is that less and less people showed up each and every week.

Sunday was the third and final race of the Perry Dam series. We arrived to the course at about 9:00 and the race was to start at 10:05am. The weather was beautiful, a little cool, around 60 degrees. The one down side was that there was a very strong wind from the south. We decided to do one lap to warm up and to see what the wind was like and what role it would play in the race. The wind was blowing just right to help on the climb and down the dam. Unfortunately this also helps everyone else up the climb and down the dam. This week was to be 6 total laps at 5 miles a piece. The whistle blew and I was fifth guy from the front on the inside. My teammate Mark was on the outside parallel with me.

This photo was taken by Roger @ Lantern Rouge

We were about half way across the dam on the first lap when I noticed the first break away, two guys from the same team jumped off the front with the two guys in front of me and Mark also from the same team slowing the pace so the the break could get larger. The problem with that attempt is that it was only two guys and the wind was blowing like crazy so once the route turned into the wind we caught them. Mark, I still think we should have jumped with them and tried to hold everyone else off with 4 of us working together. I was only able to truly hold on for one lap this time. My teammate Brian who not only went on to win the days race but also won King of the Mountain is a an extremely strong climber and set the pace up the first climb and I just couldn't hold the same speed. I was pretty much alone for most of the race managing to pass a person here or there but never really feeling too strong for the day. I was inside my head too much psyching myself out. Not really pushing myself, more like just finishing the race. I had a lot of lower back pain again and that consumed my every thought. So my plan for this week is to get back on and keep logging more miles and peppering in some hill intervals and maybe some sprint intervals.

As you can tell I am a little disappointed with my results this week. I thought I would have done better.  No worries, I just have to work harder.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Turning a Corner

Growing up in South Florida is a little like living in a bad dream, and what I mean by this is that the weather never really changes. It is always hot and usually sunny. The temperature change from summer to winter is a difference of maybe 10 degrees. The funny thing is that on the rare 50 degree day you see the natives donning their coats, scarfs, gloves, and hats. Although I can't fully make fun of these people as I was one of them for many years. Now when it warms up to 50 degrees I leave the coat at home and wear a short sleeve shirt. This morning it was 60,humid,and a nice breeze coming from the south, it felt like spring to me. This lets me know that better warmer weather is around the corner. Now that I experience four seasons I can fully appreciate the warm weather.

 My training and motivation has improved as well. A couple of nights ago I went out for an hours worth of hill intervals. Fortunately I live in an area that has many long and steady hills that are perfect for training. I tell you, I am going to conquer this climbing thing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Comfort Zones

I had a pretty productive weekend. Saturday Kate and I spent the whole day in a Child Birthing class. This class was awesome, I learned that I(birthing coach) have a large roll to play in the birthing process. Whenever you watch a movie or a T.V. show, it shows the husband in a character of a weak knee'd chump who doesn't either want to be bothered with the process or is passing out from the blood. This couldn't be further from the truth. I learned that I will be a huge influence on Kates' state of mind throughout the entire labor. Assisting to keep her calm and comfortable. I can't wait for this day to come. Society has found a way to make sex casual but there is no way of making this experience casual. This is THE ultimate bonding experience between two people who love each other. That or she will yell at me the whole time blaming me for putting her through all that pain. Will keep you posted on the results.

Now let's talk Perry Lake race 2

I had a better race this week. I still finished way back, but I feel like I accomplished more in this race than in the first. For example in the first race I was dropped on the climb at the end of the first lap and spent 3 laps all by my lonesome. Race #2 I managed to stay with the pack for 2 and a half laps. Yes that meant that I had to stay with the pack after 2, yes count them, 2 complete climbs. This race had 5 laps and so I only spent 2.5 laps out of the protection of the peleton. 

       The picture above is proof of me still with the peleton nearing the end of the climb on the first lap. I am in the back but staying right there with them.

I felt much stronger this week but I also had the confidence to push myself further out of my comfort zones. I made myself hurt. Not a bad hurt, but a good I am accomplishing something hurt. Cycling is not only about fitness but I truly believe it is about our individual pain tolerance thresholds. Some people have the confidence to get closer to the edge and sustain it longer than others, they can bare the pain and look past it knowing that no matter how much it hurts, they aren't going to remember the pain once the goal they are trying to accomplish is completed. This is one of the many reasons why I ride and race bicycles, for the learning experiences that you can only come accross when you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Like I said in my earlier post, I climb like a rock. In Cycling Mag I found an article that states that climbing is much like sprinting and they recommend doing these "squat jumps" plus sprint intervals. To start they say to do 4 sets of 5 squat jumps per set with 1 minute of rest in between. The sprint intervals are 5 sets of 15 seconds of all out sprinting starting from no more than an 8mph speed with a 4 minute soft pedal in between. I have started doing the squat jumps every day and the sprints every other day. Let's see if this does anything for my climbing. Above is a post that explains proper form. Watch and enjoy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My first post

I recieved this "onesie" from a friend of mine today, I already know that it is going to be Lucy's favorite outfit when she is born.

First race of the road season and my 4th road race ever. I was planning on going to Spring Fling on Saturday to race in the mens Cat 5 35+ but was talked out of it by Britton. He said that racing a 7 mile crit was not going to do me any good and that I should do the Perry Road Race. Perry Lake is located 12 miles NW of Lawrence Kansas, home of the Jayhawks. I packed up the car and invited two other fellow team mates to join me on the hour drive from Kansas City. The temps were at about 25 degrees when I raced at 10:00am but once your adrenaline starts going you no longer notice the cold. I wasn't alone in this race as Andrew L., Casey Buta, and Quiet Brian were all in. All three of these guys are new to racing but their abilities are far better than mine. The first lap started on a down hill for about 1/4 of mile and then it opened up to a mile or so trek accross a dam. Pretty strong cross wind on top of that dam of which I would suffer alone later in the race.The peleton was moving relatively slow with a lot of breaking. I don't understand why this happens so much in the 5's, perhaps it is do to the inexperience of some of the riders. I felt pretty good and was right there next to Andrew L. until we reached the climb for the first time. I would say I was in the front 1/3 of the peleton when we hit the climb and by the time we hit the middle of the climb I was 7 guys from the back. I climb as well as a rock does. We had to do this climb 4 times and so you can imagine just how well I did. I finished 44th out of 50. Lots of room for improvement. Casey Buta went on to finish 3rd and win King of the mountain for the day. For those of you who don't know what King of the Mountain is, in this race at any given time they will ring the bell when crossing the finish line and the first person to climb the hill in that lap is K.O.M. The cool thing is that this is a race series and Casey has to defend his title for three more races.